Idiom Boutique – A Little Off the Fringe

Idiom Boutique Front StoreDesigner Direction’s Melody Wehipeihana is partial to a little artistic eccentricity and digs those who push boundaries. It’s no wonder then, that she fell in admiration for the husband and wife team of Tauranga’s Idiom Boutique. Melody talks design, business and fashion with the pair who do original in style.

Chris and Rachelle DuffyChris and Rachelle Duffy, the duo behind the Idiom Boutique and Studio, are purveyors of cool. Driven by a passion to offer a space to showcase various disciplines of art and design, the couple have unintentionally created an identity that possesses an effortless kind of cool that you can’t help but be drawn to.

Idiom, the Duffys’ first retail store slash design studio, is a delicious mix of designer boutique, art gallery, and bookstore, with a good measure of creative genius. Designer garments sit comfortably alongside contemporary art and magazines, while eighties-inspired kicks line the walls. Underground beats accompany shoppers on their journey, and out back is the studio, where Chris masterminds ideas for the graphic design arm of the business.

Idiom Boutique Store Front PortraitThe Idiom concept, which has been continuously evolving since the store launched in October 2007, has been a labour of love, hard work and smart business. Rachelle, sharp, articulate and bubbly, dons the business hat while Chris, the more low-key of the pair, takes the creative reigns. Their ‘child’ – as they jokingly refer to the store – has been raised to offer originality through fashion, in a city where board shorts, hoodies and jandals reign supreme. Capturing the attention of consumers entrenched in a culture of ‘beach casual’ style has taken time, but through education, customer feedback and a bit of fine tuning, the business has taken on a life of its own.

Now, two years down the track, Idiom has expanded to include graphic design services, allowing Chris to flex his creativity. And he’s good, bloody good. Working as part of the branding team at O’Neill has given him a bit of a head start but you can’t disregard his natural talent. Anything and everything in the design stratosphere for Idiom is stamped with Chris’ artistic handwriting, from the business’s branding, newsletters and posters, to show invites.

Bobby Dazzler Tee - Idiom Boutique

Bobby Dazzler Tee

It was only a matter of time before the pair combined the artistic talent of Chris, and Rachelle’s background in fashion, to create their own line of clothing. And this year, Bobby Dazzler, the Duffy’s line of graphic print tees was unleashed upon a fascinated and adoring audience.

One has to wonder if there is anything that these two can’t do.

A few weeks back the pair held an in-store fashion show dubbed A Little off the Fringe, complete with top-notch sponsors like GHD Hair, Black Magazine and Red Bull. Mills Reef Winery and Mata Beer, both local businesses, also joined the party, providing a free-flowing supply of their best hops and grapes. In the current economic climate, securing sponsorship of any kind is about as likely to happen as winning first division in Powerball. If you don’t have Lady Luck on your side it is a tough negotiation. It’s clear that our friends at Idiom are not only clever in retail and design, but they also possess the kind of enviable business savvy that unlocks doors without using a key.

So what’s next for the Idiom dream team?

Despite their obvious business prowess and knack for diversification, the Duffy’s are refreshingly humble and unpretentious. When asked if world domination was on the ‘to do list’, the question was met with a definite “no”. Here is a couple that without a doubt deserve all the successes that they work hard to accomplish. Although they may brush off any aspirations for a worldwide takeover, there will come a time when their prodigal child reaches adulthood. And with this transition we can only imagine what a brilliant future lies in wait.

Check out the Idiom Boutique online store

Images supplied by Idiom Boutique

One Response to “Idiom Boutique – A Little Off the Fringe”
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  1. […] by nzfashion on May 10, 2010 · Leave a Comment  Our friends Chris and Rachelle of Idiom Boutique are on the hunt for runway models. Male or female models are wanted in sample […]

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